The The motives behind this agreement were not purely

The major non-EU nation in the ongoing migration
crisis facing the EU has been Turkey, hosting over 2.7 million Syrian refugees1. Being a
key country of transit for those seeking international protection in Europe,
throughout 2015 and 2016, 160,5102 refugees
arrived in Greece from Turkey, inevitably leading to a steep increase in the
number of asylum claims. In 2016 alone 50963 people
died crossing the Mediterranean in this fashion and as such politicians of
Europe on 18th March 2016 signed the EU-Turkey agreement to return
those deemed “inadmissible” back to Turkey once claiming asylum in the EU. The
motives behind this agreement were not purely based on these losses however.
Faced with vast numbers of asylum seekers and an ever increasing proportion of
the public exasperated with liberal policies, politicians concerned over their
own domestic futures created the deal as a deterrence policy to migrants; a way
to not solve the issue but keep the it at bay. In many ways, nearly 2 years on
from it’s conception, the agreement combined with the closing of the Balkan
route, has deterred many from making this crossing. The deal has been somewhat
of a balancing act, being based upon the ideas of ‘first country of asylum’ and
‘safe third country’ held in the Asylum Procedures Directive4. These
will be examined in detail along with Greek asylum appeal committee decisions and
the decision in the cases of NF,NG and NM v European Council5. The
practical reality, this paper will discuss, is that of disguised breaches of
international law on behalf of the EU and as a consequence, a lack of human
rights protection at the hands of an overwhelmed Turkish government.

The agreement between the EU and Turkey is one
of the largest scale attempts to govern the current emergency. The two main
aims of the deal are to close down a viable route for smugglers and deter those
trying to enter the EU by irregular means. As a part of the agreement, both
sides settled on several main points that must be achieved. The main elements
being that all irregular migrants, transiting from Turkey to Greece after the
enactment date of 20 March 2016 should be sent back to Turkey, complying with
the Asylum Procedures Directive and international law. Crucially, for each individual
sent back to Turkey, another Syrian asylum seeker would be allowed to settle
within the EU. For Turkey to cope with the sheer number of refugees, the
European Union gave €3 billion under the Facility for Refugees and upon the
funds having been used a further €3 billion more would be provided by the start
of 2019. The first payment of €3 billion was intended to aid in improving the development
and humanitarian needs of refugees in Turkey as well as alleviating the
pressures on the communities hosting them. Measures would also be taken to avoid
new migration routes opening between Turkey and the EU. Furthermore, Turkish
citizens would further enjoy visa liberalisation for travel within Schengen
area.6

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1 UNHCR, ‘Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response
Mediterranean’ (Operational Portal Refugee Situations, 2017)
accessed 12 January 2018

2 ibid

3 ibid

4 Council
of the European Union, Directive
2013/32/EU, on common procedures
for granting and withdrawing international protection (recast), 29 June 2013,
OJ L. 180/60–180/95

5 Orders of the General Court in
Cases T-192/16, T-193/16 and T-257/16 NF,
NG and NM v European Council 2017

 

6 “EU Turkey statement 18 March 2016″( European Council, 2016)
(accessed on 12 January 2018)